Chateau Lafite Rothschild 2018 Almanac
• Domaine: Château Lafite-Rothschild
• Appellation: Pauillac
• Classification: First Growth, 1èr Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
Château Lafite Rothschild 2018 150th Anniversary Collector's Case
In celebration of its 150th Anniversary of ownership, Château Lafite Rothschild has released 300 limited edition cases designed for collectors, 150 cases are in English, another 150 cases are in French. Each case contains a magnum of the 2018 Grand Vin and the impeccably compiled scrapbook - “Almanach Château Lafite”, accompanied by a signed letter from Saskia de Rothschild, the chairwoman of Domaines Barons de Rothschild. After taking over the executive management of the family estate in 2017, she has been instrumental in every aspect of the operations of the venerable wine estate.
Saskia de Rothschild says,“We built this book to tell the story of Lafite since the Rothschild family has owned it, but also to share more stories about the life of a vintage. We hope readers will come out of reading it with a better understanding of how a wine grows, from the soil to the vine to the bottle.”
The Almanac (Almanach in French) itself is a collector’s item, presenting vintage notes on each of the 150 years since the Rothschild family bought the property in 1868. For collectors who enjoy reading climatic and historic notes of previous vintages, the book presents rich archival material from the Rothschild library. There are also several copies of dinner menu and pairing wine menu served heads of states.
A hot air balloon is subtly added to the famous wine label of Lafite in 2018, with initials CL (150 in Roman numerals) sketched on the balloon and inscribed in red on the shoulder of the bottle. Saskia de Rothschild explains, “In 1868, hot air balloons were the absolute symbols of modernity and adventure. In 2018, we still see them fly but they have become the symbol of slowing down, of taking the time to move more steadily. With no rush. Just what we have been doing at Lafite for 150 years: steadily standing the test of time as we head towards the future.”
"This is silky and delicious and juicy, not something you can often say about a Lafite En Primeur sample but before you even get close to tasting the wine you can feel the layers building.It has the precision, the freshness and the sense of effortless elegance that Lafite always conveys with lots of power and depth, deep black fruits on the nose and a mix of spices from rosemary to saffron on the palate.
Is it better than the 2016? It’s hard to say at this stage but it certainly feels its equal, although differently constructed and unlikely to take as long to come around - think 10 rather than 14 years before reaching its drinking window.
It's worth adding that very few wines have been so unmarked by the extremes of the vintage, or as technical director Eric Kohler puts it; 'Even after 25 years of working at Lafite I continue to be full of admiration for this terroir. Other plots that we own reacted to the heat at times, but Lafite just kept sailing on as usual" - Decanter, Rating: 98-100
"A very compact and linear Lafite with a fantastic mouthfeel of intense but ever so refined tannins that draw a straight line through the middle of the wine. It’s full-bodied yet compact with complex character of plums, blackcurrants, cigar tobacco, cedar and hints of hazelnuts and coffee. Salty. Orange zest at the end. Delicacy with power. Richness with softness. Glamorous. Lasts for minutes at the finish." - James Suckling, Rating: 99-100
"The 2018 Lafite Rothschild is blended of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Merlot and 0.5% Petit Verdot and has 13.3% alcohol. The Merlot was harvested September 17-24, the Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested September 25 to October 5, and the Cabernet Franc was harvested on September 24. It has a deep purple-black color and then WOW—what a nose. It comes sashaying out of the glass with bags of grace and perfume, revealing notions of lilacs, red roses, fragrant soil, cinnamon stick and Morello cherries with a core of blackcurrant cordial, fresh black plums, redcurrant jelly and tapenade plus a waft of iron ore. Medium-bodied, the palate has wonderful, tightly wound layers of black, red and blue fruits intermingled with floral, earth and mineral notions and a rock-solid frame of the most finely pixelated tannins you can possibly imagine. Anyone who wants to see what I mean when I babble about the Lafite tannins needs to try this benchmark. The finish goes on, and on, and on. If this wine doesn’t get Bordeaux lovers hearts' racing, nothing will." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (4/23/2019, Bordeaux 2018 Issue), Rating: 98-100
WA Critic's Field Notes:
“2018 was like a difficult child to begin that turned out to be a genius,” Lafite’s Technical Director Eric Kohler informed me, hardly able to contain his excitement about this vintage. “The finish to this vintage was so perfect in terms of maturation!”
“It started out really wet—more wet than rainy,” Kohler continued. “On the Right Bank and Sauternes, they got more rain. Same with Margaux. There was a lot of mildew pressure. Here at Lafite, the pressure from the mildew was lower than the Right Bank or Sauternes. We lost less than 5% here. We are close to organic with our farming, but not entirely. We were able to control the situation.
And then from mid-July it became very dry and very hot. This was the hottest summer since 2003. Of course, it was not as extreme as 2003. This is why the potential of the terroir was very important. What is a great terroir? It is a terroir that can compensate for the excesses of the vintage. The terroir must have the capacity to behave like a sponge—to retain or give water. The sponge of clay that we have at Lafite regulated the excess of the vintage. This year instead of the humid wind from the west we got a dry wind from the northeast. So, there was no risk of botrytis as harvest approached. 2016 and 2018 are like two brothers, the former easier to manage, the latter more trouble and potential excess, but very great in the end."
Kohler also commented, "Duhart-Milon does not have the clay/water holding capacity of Lafite, but a little rain at the end of August/beginning of September got the vineyard through. The Merlot performed very well—Duhart-Milon might just have better terroir for Merlot than Lafite. Duhart-Milon is very opulent this year. For the dry whites, it was a very hot summer and so maybe the dry whites will not be so aromatic."
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|Brand||Château Lafite Rothschild|